Usability Evaluation Questions

This page lists questions which may be helpful in the evaluation of the overall usability of an interface.

While they do not represent a checklist which should be used to report usability or accessibility problems, they address things evaluators should be looking for during any review.

Items specific to accessibility are flagged with [a11y]. (The string "a11y" is a common abbreviation for "accessibility".)

Tip: Consider printing a copy of the page, and refer to it during your UX evaluations.


  • Is plain language used?
  • Is vocabulary familiar to the intended user, avoiding system-oriented terms?
  • Does a page's title accurately describe its purpose?
  • Are titles and headings clear and distinct?
  • Do headings precede related paragraphs?
  • Do headings make sense out of context?
  • Are related sub-points or sub-navigation links grouped into lists?
  • Are sentences and paragraphs short and to the point?
  • Have links been front-loaded into sentences?
  • Do links make sense out of context?
  • Are links unique?
  • Are separate ideas kept in separate sentences and paragraphs?
  • Is the use of all-upper-case text limited to acronyms?
  • Is additional context provided by a mouseover tip when needed (e.g. for links)?
  • Are words or sentences emphasized by both colour and weight?

Non-text media

  • [a11y] Is there a text alternative that provides the same information for non-text material?
  • [a11y] Is there a synchronized alternative for multimedia?
  • [a11y] Can users control speed of presentation?
  • Is there adequate contrast within images?

Layout and presentation

  • Is the order of information natural and logical?
  • Is similar information presented in similar, consistent ways?
  • Are bulleted or numbered lists used?
  • Is white space used to separate ideas?
  • Is unnecessary material displayed (clutter)?
  • Is flashing that could cause seizures used?
  • Is there distracting blinking, flashing, or animation?
  • Can users suppress distracting effects?
  • Can foreground elements - either text or images - be easily distinguished from the background?
  • [a11y] Can browser settings control text size, image size, and colours?
    • [a11y] Does the layout adjust to font size and image size?
    • [a11y] Can the shape of the layout be adjusted?
    • [a11y] Does the layout retain its integrity at 400% magnification?
  • [a11y] Is important information emphasized in non-colour ways?
  • Are illustrations provided for important concepts?
  • Are there summaries of pages and sections of content?
  • Are menu items numbered to aid navigation?

Controls (dialog box elements, scroll bars, etc.)

  • Will vocabulary be familiar to users and not system-oriented?
  • Are platform conventions followed?
  • [a11y] Can all controls be operated via the keyboard?
  • [a11y] Is keyboard-based navigation properly coordinated with screen reader keystroke assignments?
  • [a11y] Are there controls that require rapid or time-limited responses?
  • [a11y] Are users provided notification of time-out and allowed to request more time?
  • [a11y] Does UI Componentry provide rich hint, help, or tooltip text?
  • [a11y] Is this accomplished by establishing relationships between the UI widget (could be a form control) and additional help information? (eg. ARIA provides a describedBy and Tooltip relationship for these situations)

Navigation and control

  • Does the system always keep users informed about what is going on, through appropriate feedback, within reasonable time? (Visibility of system status)
  • Can users easily recover from errors, unintended actions, or actions that did not lead to desired results (eg undo, back)?
    • Is confirmation required when an action is difficult or impossible to undo?
  • Is navigation consistent and intuitive?
  • Do links match destination titles?
  • Does the application follow platform and usability conventions?
    • Are well-known pictures and symbols used? (eg. "?" for help, "<" for back, "i" for information).
  • Are similar operations or tasks performed in similar ways?
  • Are there error-prone operations that can be eliminated?
  • Does the application support user memory?
  • Are accelerators provided for experienced users?
  • Can repetitive actions or frequent activities be made easier?
  • Are error messages easy to understand and respond to?
  • Is help information and/or documentation available?
    • Is it easy to search?
    • Is information focused on the user's task?
    • Does it provide concrete steps?
    • Are illustrations provided to make instructions easier to understand?
  • Are there features (e.g. a site map, navigation bar) that help users find content and navigate?
  • Are there topic maps for complex content?
  • Is there a home page link?